Tag Archives: Helpful Tips

Holiday Travel Driving Tips

holidaydrivingtrafficThe holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) is typically the busiest travel time of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during the Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by about 54 percent. During the Christmas/New Year’s travel period, the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number during the rest of the year. While airports, bus stations, and trains get major traffic during the holidays, most long-distance holiday travel is done by personal vehicle.

Traveling with more cars on the road can make your travel experience stressful. If you plan on driving somewhere during the holidays, take a look at our holiday travel driving tips to make your trip a little easier:

• Get your car examined – Before driving a long distance, it is a good idea to get your car looked at, especially if you will be driving in winter conditions. Getting a quick tune-up can give you peace of mind and help you to avoid unfortunate car troubles.

• Be prepared for a change in course – Before you depart, familiarize yourself with your travel route and take a look at what the weather will be like. Be aware of and prepared for detours, construction, road closings, and traffic, which could increase your travel time. In heavy traffic areas, tune in to a local radio station to find out about delays. By staying flexible with your plans, you can decrease the stress and anxiety that might come with traveling.

• Stay alert and make frequent stops – Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness. It is important to stay hydrated, pack food, and make regular stops. With more traffic, and possibly winter conditions, driving can be exhausting. Take time to stop, stretch, get fresh air, and take bathroom breaks. Also, fill up with gas whenever you are able to. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you’ll be thankful that you have gas in your tank when you are stuck in traffic.

• Pack a safety kit – Pack safety essentials in your car, such as a cell phone, car charger, rope, jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, etc.

• Remember basic car safety – Always wear your seat-belt, use extra caution in work zones, and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

• Stay in touch – Let someone know your destination, route, and expected arrival time, so that they can contact you if something arises.

Emergency Preparedness Tips

lightning bannerAccording to the National Weather Service, about 450 Americans were killed in weather related incidents in 2013. Severe and unpredictable weather is common in the Midwest, and the effects can be devastating. During fall months, storms, intense wind, flooding, and even snow can occur. September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and it is a great time to consider making plans in case you find yourself in an emergency.

The National Safety Council suggests keeping an emergency kit at home and in your car that contains basic needs to sustain your family for at least 72 hours. Your kit should include nonperishable food, water, a flashlight (with extra batteries), extra clothing, a tool kit, a first aid kit, and any other necessities you may need, such as blankets or utensils.emergencykitbanner

You should regularly check and update your kit. Also, you should know where important health documents are located, and make a plan that includes evacuation methods, places to seek shelter, emergency contact lists, and ways to stay safe in any situation.

The National Safety Council provides the following tips for staying safe in severe weather situations:

  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment, cords, metal, and water during thunderstorms and lightning.
  • Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid sheds, garages, or other small structures. Avoid open areas, such as hilltops, beaches, or open water.
  • When driving in heavy rain, exit the roadway safely and find somewhere to park. Stay in your vehicle with the emergency flashers on until the rain subsides.
  • Avoid driving near flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, safely evacuate the car and move to higher ground if you are able to.
  • If there is a tornado, stay away from windows. Go into a basement, center hallway, bathroom, or closet. Cover yourself by going under something sturdy, such as a table, and cover yourself with a blanket or padding for protection.
  • If you see a tornado while driving, stop your car. Lie flat in the nearest ditch or ravine, and cover your head with your hands.

Remember to stay informed, have a plan, and be prepared!